her tin skin

By Evie Shockley Evie Shockley
i want her tin skin. i want
       her militant barbie breast,
resistant, cupped, no, cocked
       in the V of her elbow. i want
my curves mountainous
and locked. i want her
       arabesque eyes, i want her
tar markings, her curlicues,
       i want her tin skin. she
is a tree, her hair a forest
of strength. i want to be
       adorned with bottles. i
want my brownness
       to cover all but the silver
edges of my tin skin. my
sculptor should have made
       me like her round-bellied
maker hewed her: with chain-
       saw in hand, roughly. cut
away from me everything
but the semblance of tender.
       let nothing but my flexed
foot, toeing childhood, tell
     the night-eyed, who know
how to look, what lies within.
                                                          —after alison saar’s “compton nocturne”

Evie Shockley, “her tin skin” from the new black. Copyright © 2011 by Evie Shockley. Reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press.

Source: the new black (Wesleyan University Press, 2011)

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Poet Evie Shockley

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Living, The Body, Arts & Sciences, Painting & Sculpture, Social Commentaries, Race & Ethnicity

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Evie  Shockley


Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, poet Evie Shockley earned a BA at Northwestern University, a JD at the University of Michigan, and a PhD in English literature at Duke University. The author of several collections of poetry, including a half-red sea (2006) and the new black (2011), Shockley is also the author of the critical volume Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Body, Arts & Sciences, Painting & Sculpture, Social Commentaries, Race & Ethnicity

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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